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The limitations of Liberalism as a political ideology

By Martin Wakaba – an individual who is keen on developmental concepts

As a dominant political dogma in the world, Liberalism has been practiced in most societies. Liberalism refers to a political philosophy that is founded on the concepts of fairness and freedom to craft an ideology of equality and liberty. Through centralist, Centre-right and Centre-left caucuses and groups, the input of Liberalism has been immense as witnessed through the diverse agendas of the world. The aspects of Liberalism have played an important role in the social, economic and political realms. Through the implementation of equality, freedom, economic fortunes, social integration and political involvement, civil rights and industrialization, Liberalism has laid the basis for progressive ventures. However, despite the gains made by Liberalism as witnessed during the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Glorious Revolution and the American Revolution, more and more weaknesses have been crafted. While the ideas brought about by Liberalism may be well intended, there exist some instances within the framework of the concept that may institute negative outcomes. Nowadays, people take advantage of Liberalism by fanning ethnic hatred, advocating for immoral practices and escalating the diversionary tactics meant to cause disorganization and turmoil. Essentially, it has systematically led to the impoverishment of traditions, religious practices, social and ethical norms. In this regard, patriotism and social unity become elusive.

Even though Liberalism leads to increased international cooperation, some countries may use the same to cunningly approve their malicious agenda. For example, North Korea has been exploiting this loophole by trying to hoodwink the world that they are gradually adopting a democratic model. The downside is that North Korea takes advantage of Liberalism by demanding concessions and other forms of special considerations for scaling down their nuclear weapons and other lethal arsenals. These practices and ideologies as implemented by the North Korean government negate the real values of Liberalism. Also, Liberalism may be negatively used by administrations that have a hidden agenda for personal or regional gains within the geo-political context. Invading other countries under the guise of delinking the local masses from oppressive regimes leads to increased wars because there is the high likelihood of retaliatory attacks. As a result, the situation conjures more deaths and suffering rather than safeguarding the lives of civilians. Through policies that are cunningly devised to end the suffering of the people, the invading governments can use Liberalism as a classical facade to hide their real intentions.

Liberalism favours efficiency as opposed to equitable development. Hence, the rich have undeniable access to mechanisms that instigate efficiency. Therefore, Liberalism seems to protect the needs of the wealthy at the expense of the poor and oppressed. It, therefore, contradicts the idea of equitable distribution of resources. In essence, it explains why most political parties that are based on liberal ideas have lost touch with the people and subsequently voted out. Also, it expounds on the rise of far-right political groups and populism that revolves around Uncle Sam’s Donald Trump and Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. Furthermore, Liberalism as a rich man’s ideology reveals itself in capitalism by protecting the interests of the establishment through economic systems. Classically, these occurrences are bizarrely instituted at the expense of the poor, the economically exploited populaces and the downtrodden masses.

Liberalism advocates transparency as regards diverse governance matters, creating a complex chain that brings about a delay in the formulation of desired projects. While it is wise to subject the governments to different forms of external and internal audits, these processes as entailed through the concept of Liberalism gives room for the escalation of bureaucracy. The system provides a mechanism that requires increased usage of resources and money for oversight and regulation, leading to an increase in taxation. Liberal institutionalism cripples the key decisions made by the government through the interference of the legal arms and the legislative processes. For instance, while joining the EU through the Liberalism ideals of free trade has offered an unrestricted market to member states, it has also shrunk their decision-making capacities by centralizing power. In essence, EU member states are now more bound by the regulations made in Brussels – EU’s capital, as opposed to those from their respective governments.

Through Liberalism, dissenting voices can lay the foundation for anarchy in a country. The unrestricted model of accessing liberty poses a huge threat to the stability and development of a country. In essence, even a legitimate and performing government can be stopped on its tracks, thereby giving rise to different forms of gangs that may cause endless mutiny. Given that Liberalism calls for the freedom of expression and a free media, rogue elements in a country can take advantage to wage a war against a regime. Besides, there exists a danger that Liberalism increases the likelihood the sprouting of regional militia and other gangs by using neglect from the central government as an excuse. Liberalism advocates for the usage of military force to liberate people against oppression. However, such a concept can go wrong. For example, the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, invaded Iraq in solidarity with US’ President, George Bush, on the belief that Saddam Hussein was unleashing violence on his people and that he had weapons of mass destruction capable of annihilating the world. The move would lead to endless regret as accusations continue to the effect that no weapons of mass destructions were found.

The freedom of expression as enshrined within the concept of Liberalism has had major implications on the role and impact of governance. Essentially, the ideals advocated by this political ideology negate the gains made through a centralized form of government by reducing the political power of a government. Ideally, by increasing the freedom of speech and civil rights, the government loses a vital aspect of consolidating its power due to constant interruptions from the citizens and the press. Such instances lead to a slow implementation and adoption of developmental legislations. Sadly, the negative effects associated with such interruptions only affect the poor and other marginalized groupings. For instance, when President Barrack Obama undertook the initiative of a medical scheme known as Obama Care, people had different reasoning and explanations as regards the pros and cons of the undertaking. As a result, the public joined in the debate and the issue was turned into a political agenda that prolonged the inception of the Obama Care. Essentially, the poor and needy people were robbed a chance to access quality and cheaper healthcare due to prolonged issues. Despite all these issues, there may be a “Road to Damascus” moment as regards Liberalism.

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